Posted on 26 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Phi Brain



So, Phi Brain. A show that baffled me for the past year more than any other series, and it did so in many ways. It was the source of many frustrations, but also many surprises. When the first season started it seemed like just an ordinary shounen series with very good characters. Then a second season got announced and things started. The thing is that the first season was very conclusive and didn’t really leave many plot threats behind. On top of that, it was all about Kaito and his history, and it really had this storyline that used its main cast at its best. So how on earth were they going to top that?

Well indeed, the second season didn’t turn out to be as good as the first, but it did so for complete different reasons than what I imagined. The creators actually came up with a new set of very good villains here. The charm of the first season, it surprisingly good characterization: it stayed here. There was cheese, Oh GOD, there was cheese, but it used this cheese really well to create memorable villains and actually ended up very heart-warming with a very good chemistry between all of the different members of the cast. The themes were great and it ended with a satisfying climax that really exceeded my expectations. So what went wrong?

Well, the balance is all over the place. The thing is that the stories of the first and second season are about equal in size, but the way in which they spend their time is very different. The first season had random stories: a first half of completely unrelated stories to flesh out the cast. In the second season however, every episode is important to the plot in a direct way. The problem however is that this show doesn’t have the material to fill 25 episodes. The result? Well, four episodes of solving the exact same puzzle over and over again. In a series that prides itself with its creative puzzles, that indeed is as fun as it sounds.

On top of that, the way in which this series manages its cast in this season is really bizarre and questionable. It all works out in the end, but oh boy, it has a lot of hurdles. Most importantly, the central focus of the plot is brainwashing. The entire cast of villains is brainwashed into acting weird and illogical. You do not want to know how long it takes for this to get properly fleshed out and some actual depth, because this series has spent nearly its entire airtime to get to that point. At the start the characters come off as shallow stupid and illogical bastards.

And then there is the great cast of characters of the first season, who honestly have trouble figuring out what to do in the sequel here. In one way it’s good, because the characters who did not have a focus in the first season can now really shine here (with the best example being Ana Gram), but it also is a bit of a shame to see once strong characters wander around slightly aimlessly and looking for things to do. Gammon especially suffered here, but also Nonoha is pretty bad. She keeps wanting to do something, and yet the creators hardly ever let her, despite hinting at how she still is important. Only near the end does that start to matter, and in the meantime she is just there for the token female to cook dinner.

Beyond that, the usual issues with Phi Brain still stand: when you think about it, it just makes no bloody sense. Especially the way in which this series seems to think that you can hack anything and do some mumbo jumbo in order to gather data are really bad if you start thinking about it even once. This show just has a story to tell and doesn’t care how illogical it gets, and yet it does this better than the likes of Horizon, because the story it does end up telling becomes pretty damn good when it wants to and is actually focused. I mean you can say a lot about Phi Brain, but it has a damn good cast of characters.

Storytelling: 7/10 – You call that balance?! Riddled with issues, way too long (we’re at 50 episodes now and a third season has been announced!), yet surprisingly focused and well built up.
Characters: 8.5/10 – The saving grace for this series. Very good and heart-warming all around. A bit too heavy on the cheese though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Definitely not Sunrise’s dream team here, though it has its moments at the beginning and end where it looks really pretty.
Setting: 8.5/10 – I have to give points for this series: it took a setting that seemed impossible to make believable: people fight using puzzles and brainwash each other in order to evolve human kind. And it pulled it off. Sure it took a lot of trouble, but it did.

Suggestions:
The Law of Ueki
Spiral
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Posted on 26 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This episode thankfully wasn’t as bad as the previous episodes, and instead it was just a build-up. Unfortunately though, it showed a lot about the structure of this series and how much time it has actually wasted. But before I comment on that: we finally see Rook again… only to have him state the obvious and disappear again. Great use of him, guys!

Now, about this episode: it actually went back to the brainwashing again. Even though this disappeared for nearly half a season, here it is back like nothing happened. So yes, this series will turn Kaito’s friends against him. So really? What were those previous episodes about anyway? A random repetitive tournament that revealed the motivation of the Orpheus Order and a random beach episode. None of them really said anything about any of the characters, save for that very corny backstory and returning Nonoha back to the kitchen. They did absolutely nothing with the theme of brainwashing people

If these episodes were mentioned to flesh out the characters, then they pretty much failed because none of the characters emerged as better from those episodes and some of them even regressed and became more generic. Only this episode finally tried to delve deeper into the characters, even though it had plenty of annoying moments with everyone and his dog running for president. You could have made so much better use of these episodes. Take control of a few more side-characters; continue trying to recruit Gammon again by using his sister or something. Give Nonoha a puzzle she can actually solve. There was so much potential for these episodes. You obviously don’t care about having a puzzle in every episode so you could have taken one episode off to dedicate to the past of one of the characters.

I think it’s pretty clear by now: the first season was completely planned out when Sunrise suddenly came with the announcement for a second season. And my guess really is that the script was rushed in order to get the second season to continue immediately after the first season. Sunrise has very solid planners, so keeping the animation quality up was no problem. But thinking of a completely new series with complete new threats was way too much. This is especially the case considering that Sato Junichi switched from the director to the series composition: it’s very likely that he wrote this second season while directing the remaining episodes of the first season. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a shoddy writing-job from his side, because there are just too many things wrong with that string of six episodes.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 18 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The beach episode actually wasn’t done yet? We’re spending one more episode in that resort? Why, Phi Brain? Did you run out of ideas for a setting or something?

It’s a good thing that this episode had a completely different premise than last week. Although I am not really sure what the point of it all was. Basically, after more than thirty episodes Nonoha finally realizes that she doesn’t fit in with the other main characters. Even though there were plenty of people who also went along with the trip and who were also bad at puzzles that she could have hung out with.

In any case, tired of doing nothing but cooking, Nonoha finally realizes that she also wants to do something and starts to solve puzzles along with the rest of the main cast. This really is the chance for the creators to find something specific or unique that she’s good at. Midway through the episode, we are re-introduced to Nonoha’s amazing memory, which is the perfect ingredient for giving an extra bit of dynamic to solving the puzzles. Unfortunately, Nonoha doesn’t realize that, completely fails at any kind of new puzzle she’s handed, and ends up back in the kitchen where she started. And feminism marches on!

I really don’t get what the creators are doing with Nonoha here. I mean, she has a ton of potential to contribute, but she completely fails to use them. Compare this to a series as the Law of Ueki: that series had a similar character to Nonoha: Mori. She usually stood on the sidelines as the main supporting character as well, but once in a while the creators did put her in the spotlight by finding a situation which would allow her to be able to show off her character. The result was beyond awesome, among the highlights of the series and part of the reason why that turned into my favorite comedy ever. Compare that to Phi Brain, where Nonoha gets a mid-life crisis episode that doesn’t really go anywhere.

And here is the bizarre thing: it’s not that hard to show her potential. She is the most athletic member of the cast. Give her an action puzzle or something. Get her to save Kaito by having someone attack him or something. Or what about her incredible memory? Put her in a maze or something!

Instead of that, the most creative that the creators have done with her is making her swim for six hours, which is completely unrelated to anything that this series is about. In the first season, she had a clear purpose: give support to Kaito as he was losing his mind. That worked. In the second season Kaito still needs support, but now Cubic and Ana have taken over that role, rendering Nonoha’s part in this series completely useless. Out of all the places the creators could have gone with Nonoha, they chose that damn kitchen!
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 11 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Who the heck was behind this episode, and what on earth was he smoking while writing it?

This episode already started off bad by both having Elena transfer into the Root Academy, and being a beach episode. I did not expect it to be such a bizarrely written one, though. I’m not sure whether this was in a good way, because what made it so bizarre was the incredibly stupid ideas behind it.

So, let me get this straight… the POG actually owned another tropical island. They used that for filming a giant monster movie named “puzzla”, and they still keep some of the props, including a giant monster model, hidden in a cave on that island. Where the hell did that come from? Why would that professor Pythagoras have ordered a thing like that?

The more I think about this episode, the more I realize that it really is quite bad. I mean, on one hand I guess the stupidity was funny and all, but on the other hand: it actually nullified some of the development that has been handed to the characters. There is that bizarre movie plan from the POG, but also:
– This episode had everyone going crazy from puzzle withdrawal, including Cubic and Ana, even though the two of them weren’t really passionate about puzzles. In the series we mostly see them paint and do science stuff respectively. This episode lumped their character way too much together.
– Elena also gets reduced to a generic side-character. Remember in the first season how there were hints of a romance between her and Gammon Well, this episode apparently didn’t.

Episodes like this are supposed to give the characters more colour, not make them grayer!

Some more comments:
– Apparently this show forgot that lock-picking is also a puzzle.
– Being in puzzle withdrawal is one thing. Gammon however has made plenty of puzzles for himself. Really, it’s not that hard to make them and instead the characters decide to go into that bizarre puzzla chase.
– Nonoha swimming for six hours and fishing up the key that Elena threw away is just plain bad.
– Death to slide-show montages!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 4 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This was just bizarre. It seems that the editorial department realized that the writing staff intended to have the same puzzle in five episodes in a row, and they probably were just in time to salvage this and reduce the whole time of this arc by one episode by having the last match be a team-up. The thing is, that Sato Junichi most likely wrote this (he went from being the director in the first season to writing the series composition in the second season). He should know better, right?

And yeah. I didn’t think it was possible, but the creators actually provided an explanation for all of the other complaints I’ve been having over the past episode: nobody can think straight because they’re consumed by these orpheus rings. That’s why every villain is gay for Kaito, they make such ridiculous leaps in logic and have these extremely out of place mood changes that seem to come from out of nowhere.

And with this, the goal of this series has changed from “defeat the orpheus order” to “save the orpheus order”. Now, the question remains whether or not it’s interesting to watch an entire season dedicated to mentally deranged villains. It’s impossible to relate to them in any case, so instead this show is really going to have to develop these guys as victims instead.

The big potential pitfall is going to be making the ofpheus bracelets god-moded: justify every stupid leap in logic through them and relaying every dumb or over the top statement that these guys make just on “they weren’t thinking straight”. It takes away all character from the orpheus order, and it’s just lazy storytelling: normally writers have to take suspense of disbelief into account, and have characters acting reasonable. If you’re going to play with mental issues, do so with rules and structure, and don’t just blame everything on the “stupid virus”.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 28 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 22 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

And from out of nowhere this episode reveals the big motivation for Freecell. And to be honest… it’s kindof lame. I mean, it’s clear now that in this series there are quite a few characters gay for Kaito, but this guy’s reason for being so seems to be the flimsiest of the bunch.

So, to recap: in the Crossfield academy Kaito stood out as a genius, amongst all the other kids who were being pushed to be the next Phi Brain. We know that Kaito had a really difficult time there: he lost his parents and suddenly was placed to some random school he didn’t know; it was Rook who probably got him back up to his feet.

During that time, he talked to Freecell exactly once, and promised to meet and play again. He broke that promise because it happened on the same day that Rook disappeared, which is logical. On the same day, Freecel’s mother died and because he was sad that Kaito didn’t meet him, his was sad to see him sad and so she died unhappy. And Freecell has been unable to move on for 10 years, to the point of devoting his entire life to get back at him.

Of course, things aren’t as simple as “this episode made no sense”. After all, these characters were kids. This episode raised some amazing points that really should not be overlooked: forcing kids to perform beyond everything, and neglecting to let them evolve emotionally. From the looks of it, the POG did not care about this at all and was such an unhealthy environment for kids to grow up, with the result of mental delusions. This builds further upon what the first season started, and it also showed how hard Jin’s task was to get everything under control: he could give guidance to kids like Kaito, but there were much more kids that he ignored. Probably because he was doing this in secret so his actions had to be limited. This is something I actually really like: the kids who were forgotten and not as lucky as Kaito.

The thing that bugs me lies in the storytelling and how it took some very convenient loops. First of all: having the mother die at exactly the right moment is a tad too convenient here. But my biggest beef: Kaito only talked to Freecell once. That’s all. There is no reason for this to have such a significant impact on Freecell. There was no time to develop their relationship. Losing your mother is a terrible thing, but even taking that into account I find it hard to believe that Freecell would bear a lifelong grudge against someone who made him sad on the day that his mother died.

Rook was an awesome villain because he had time to spend with Kaito: he changed. Freecell’s entire character is dominated by this revenge. The upcoming episodes will need to fix that and give him an actual character.

And on a side-note, Phi Brain: you disappoint me. Are you really planning to have five subsequent episodes, focusing on the same puzzle? That’s just lazy.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 16 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Okay, so in the end the whole brainwashing subplot was all just a build-up. It wasn’t meant to give depth to the entire cast with its formula, but instead it was meant to show the Orpheus order as a formidable foe, explain what they were doing and why they were doing it. The fact that two side-characters got fleshed out was just a neat side-effect.

Instead this has very much the tendencies of a mystery story: inbetween the puzzles it really slowly continues to reveal a bit more about the Orpheus order. This episode was about Cubic again, who always struck me as the least interesting member of the cast. He’s genuine, but in comparison to the rest of the characters he lacks something. It probably has to do with how he is this series’ plot device: if something needs to be explained, he just goes “science!”, and things somehow become clear. This episode was about this too. The punchline of this episode was that he lost, yet he did manage to gather “data” which will somehow be of importance later. It’s all very vague, in a series that thrives on math.

In any case, this seems to be an arc in which the Orpheus order will show a bit more about their true characters; a way to flesh them out, in having a tournament-style match-up. I do wonder why Nonoha forced herself into the picture though, especially when Jikugawa would have been a much more sane choice to bring along. Right now she has no role in this series. Her role in the first searon was clear: support Kaito as he was having the living brains kicked out of him. Right now though.. Kaito doesn’t really need help… yet.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 7 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

I like how this series pretends that it’s got the plot of a series that’s fifteen years old, taking a formula only to nearly immediately deviate from it again. I really thought that for now we’d just get a string of episodes that would feature the POG taking control of some side-character. Instead, they are making visible progress in their goals. And this episode was all about Gammon.

And yeah, this was the best episode of the second season so far. Gammon just got even better. At first I didn’t really know where it was going to go to when Gammon was suddenly invited to join the Orpheus Order, especially since Gammon generally joins the side that is against the side that pisses him off the most. But then it turns out that this was actually a follow-up on last week after which the Orpheus Order tried to get ahold of his sister. She’s fine now as they lost interest in her, but this really made an impact on Gammon. This episode was meant for him to resolve this and emerge as a better character instead.

And in the end this episode made use of the first season, relating back to the time Kaito and Gammon first met by having Kaito play for a Giver for once. Gammon was hilarious to watch by being thrown off his element like that, and I also really liked how Kaito did things for a completely different reason (he was pissed off at Gammon himself). It was very refreshing to have these two actually play each other’s roles for a change. It was an awesome way to flesh them out.

Having said that though, the characters in this series are idiots. In a way, the Orpheus Order might have gotten Gammon to join them. Hell, if they paid him for it he probably would have done so. But what on earth made that Doubt-guy think that he’d still join them.. after they openly threatened the life of his sister? Gammon on the other hand: I know that you gained control over your own anger again at the end of this episode. But still: you know the location of people who openly endanger innocent people… and you don’t use it?! Why?
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on 30 April 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

You know, the actual goal of the orpheus order isnt’ bad at all. If they can figure out the kinks in the Orpheus bracelet and remove the parts that destroy the wearer’s brains, it could mean a very good way for humanity to evolve, and it’s certainly better than “let’s have humanity evolve by killing everyone.” It’s just that their methods are questionable, having them resort to use involuntary human guinea pigs who can easily die when things go wrong.

Also, this episode broke up the formula that the first episodes tried to set already: Gammon prevented his sister from getting brainwashed. Still, you could say that this all was part of the plans in order to challenge Kaito to a puzzle. This episode pretty much failed for the Orpheus order, because the reason why Kaito nearly became “Phi Brain” was by putting him under constant stress. That’s very hard to do with five of them together like that, supporting each other. Also, this episode revealed all of their names, and they are indeed as weird as the rest of the cast. The main villain of this series is a random card game.

In any case, the bad thing of breaking up this formula is that we didn’t really get to see much more about Gammon’s sister. The most logical solution for this will be that the Orpheus order will find some other way to use her. Can they keep these methods fresh enough for the entire side-cast?
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe it works better in hellsing and drifters moreso to both being goofball action shows.
KTravlos
A point on the chibi in AMB. I was thinking about shows were the chibi did not bother me, and Hellsing Ultimate and Drifters (newest episodes coming out), both had deformed/chibi segments. For some reason they did not bother me. I think ABM directors have bad timing with them.
KTravlos
I have to say Ichirou Inuyashiki is very cool. Like he is really a cool character. Also I am saddened to say it but watching AMB together with Inuyashuki does not work well for AMB
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Silver: There are sad moments certainly but plenty of humour.
Anonymous1639132
Man, I sure hope Ichirou Inuyashiki and Hiro Shishigami make out, everything is just building up to that
silver
I actually have only watched one or two episodes of this season of 3-gatsu, but its rising scores and rave reviews are making me really excited! I've only put it off because it's somewhat emotionally tiring for me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Well, after the first season of 3-gatsu ended, I did skim ahead to this bullying arc so I already know this is going to be powerful, yet the anime still wow me over and over
Anonymous1637770
Also it can be tricky selecting a season sequel since some old series had like 50 to 100 episodes, what counted as a season then?
Anonymous1637770
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's more common in videogames (especially Capcom) than in other mediums. Megaman 2, RE 2, Street Fighter 2, Dino Crisis 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually in a rarity, a sequel season is better than the first.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which makes my enjoyment of sangatsu so strange.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I generally do not like game/sports orientated shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That you slightlySuper-erMario and superwooper!
Kaiser-Eoghan
And my reaction to the show is such, that I enjoyed it enough to make such a huge pot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also I want Akari to be my mom and Hina is adorable without being annoyingly so and Kana Hanazawa is doing a good job voicing her.

And whoever said it is right, the op/ed songs are worth listening to, for once I’m not skipping them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
At this point it feels as if by the end of the series I’ll come off it thinking that I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters.
I don’t think as of just yet it complete lives up to honey and clovers legacy though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never cared about Harunobu initially, but recent episodes have changed this.
Dull parts of the manga are easier to get through for me in the anime due to Shaft elevating the material with one of the better uses of their visual gimmicks.
Giving the series another chance, even though I won’t fully embrace the humour, it does now and then manage to make me laugh a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc centering on Hina and the shows treatment of it is better than most anime bullying stories and has provided the most emotionally rewarding aspect of the show.
Characters that are assholes like Kyouko’s boyfriend, Kyouko herself I’m finding somewhat more sympathetic and want to see more to their personal drama.
Kaiser-Eoghan
However I do genuinely think that the series does a good job of allowing dramatic moments to creep up on the viewer, that early scene of Hina crying over her mother, Rei’s family flashbacks, Akari’s concerns about Hina/the stuff with her dad, all the scenes with Kyouko do carry an effective and solid dramatic weight to them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel it starts very strong, making a great first impression, then kind of has these dull moments that make it sort of a slog at times to get through, unfortunately I have no interest in chess/shougi and no knowledge the show tries to give me is going to stick or allow me to embrace that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Through jumping back and forth between the anime and manga, I can say I have no caught up to where I will now watch March comes like a lion on a weekly basis.
Anonymous1636224
The blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki
Anonymous1636224
Mmmmmm the suffering of all those innocent people feeding his God boner, this is why I love Inuyashiki
Lenlo
Oh yeah, thats not a knock against it. Just noting they dont *need* much animation
SuperMario
Well, the nature of Mahoutsukai is slow-burned, so it makes sense they focus more on static, quiet moments
Lenlo
Was that blade 2022 thing supposed to be an example? Because I wasnt a fan. It was stylish sure, but difficult to follow.
Lenlo
Maho is a good looking show, I wouldnt call it a great animated show.
Lenlo
The issue for me is, theres just not alot being animated most of the time. Usually its a pretty slow moving anime, so most of its time is talking and still shots. It doesnt need alot of animation, so it doesnt have it.
Lenlo
@Niel, I think Mahoutsukai can have good animation when it wants to. Like the water viel in episode 10 looked good (Though im not sure how much of that was after effects)
Anonymous1635607
uhhh creepy
Anonymous1635589
the blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki so much
Amagi
I think the security is the same as here, it's just that Japanese people are less likely to rip stuff (correct me if I am wrong). It seems like ripped anime, manga and so on are basically always uploaded by Americans, Chinese people or someone else.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised heavens feel was camripped I thought security in japanese theatres was stronger.
Amagi
Yeah it's also screening in Germany, I will watch it in February, together with Heaven's Feel, Mutafukaz, Kimikoe and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*on Europa cinema
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nanoha new film to screen next February in the US, come in Europa license it for over here dammit....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did have some down moments though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I guess contrasting Luke with his old self goes some way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Saw the preview screening of the new star wars, still feel the new trilogy stands inbetween the originals and prequels, fufills its duty as a *** star blockbuster , some genuinely hilarious high camp moments, awful tokenism, Snoke is a shit villain, but two scenes with Luke actually have a pathos to them and I liked the chase/action scenes when they happened. Nobody cares about the acting/dialogue
AidanAK47
But there are times when it goes way too far and you can barely make out what is even supposed to be happening. Or characters go so off model that they are unrecognizable. It can be immersion breaking. Much like uncanny CGI.
AidanAK47
@Niel, I do agree that it's annoying to see people complain about animation when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Like those inbetween frame screenshot people. But I will say I appreciate on model characters more so than chaotic movement. When the off model stuff suits the tone of the scene like that blade runner part, then it's fine.
niel
I also don't want to see someone imply visual=animation for the hundredth time. Are people really that ignorant of the technical/artistic aspect of the media they consumed?
niel
It just depends on what works best in given scene and the aesthetic they want to go for. People can complain all they want about off-model stuff, but if they really only want that the they won't be getting nearly as much of those impactful scenes as there are now. So many of the ways people complain about it is really irking to me.
niel
normal/low action scenes is different from being on-model during the action sequences and just the ones that need some extra impact in general. https://youtu.be/rrZk9sSgRyQ?t=6m45s
niel
But that depends on the situation though. And I'd argue that being consistent and on-model during
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter/Niello/Mario: Ideally I want it both ways, fluid animation AND consistent model visuals, all the while never sacrificing choreography.
SuperMario
But really, who am I to say. I'm the dude who prefer beautiful shot composition myself
SuperMario
The same can be said with Shinkai's movies since he always prefers static, beautiful shot that people tend to overlook that his animation is quite poorly handled
Vonter
You're right, but art direction does alleviate limited animation, I mean the old Berserk anime, kinda has a lot of slideshow moments. MahoYome has nice backgrounds, and despite the samey faces, at the very least doesn't come from the same mold as other series. Still cutting corners with chibi segments is was a mistake.
SuperWooper
Is it any wonder that people prefer things to be static/on-model? They want to see characters who look consistent and familiar so they can relate to them.
Nie
MahoYome being the biggest offender of people getting triggered to any kind of statement about the show's animation not being good. And it's absurd because the show's animation really isn't great at all. It's good with distracting people with pretty pictures, but animation-wise it's still mediocre.
Nie
@SuperMario: Not much. Just stuff like "Art is part of the animation weather it's beautiful backgrounds or just amazing looking characters. It's not all about how they move. If it was, CG would be considered great animation" multiple times. I've just been finding myself being replied with these kinds of comment non-stop since the start of the season.
SuperMario
@Niello: What happened exactly, if you don't me asking?
Nielllo
If I hear someone says AMB has good animation one more tie I might actually lose it. It's amazing how people who apparently know nothing about it try to defend this and other people who don't know anything are actually supporting the guy.
Niello
So with Fate Apocrypha episode 22 out, I'm just now learning that people think webgen style is horrible and they prefer static scenes with pretty visual over actual quality animation. WTF. I can't comprehend this. Are casual people who watch animation in general really that oblivious to the art they have been watching?
Lenlo
Berserks Dynasty Warriors style game looked better. Also, Mahoutsukai should be up tonight/tomorrow. Turns out, Christmas is a busy time of year at this job.
Amagi
*worse
Amagi
Especially when you consider how good CGI can be by now, look at Houseki or Kado. But Berserk was the worst thing I saw in years, many scenes felt worst than sequences of PSX games
Amagi
@SuperMario: Same. I love Kon and also consider Paprika's OST as the best. @Lenlo: Me too. I honestly even enjoyed the movies but the new series was atrocious
Lenlo
HIRASAWAAAA! HAAAAAI YOOOOO.
I miss the 90s Berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also quite fond of his soundtracks for Berserk. AIIIIIYE FORCES : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYYYew8CUI
SuperMario
@Amagi: I'm a big fan of Kon so I've watched everything from his. Even bought a book about his works. About the soundtrack, I listened to them as well but not regularly, compare to pprika OST which I downloaded and listen to a lot
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although not completely a manga, Usagi yojimbo also has an anthro character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Millennium actress is partially inspired by the actress Setsuko Hara.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: The anthro-animal manga is even a topseller as far as I know. Haven't looked into it yet, though. Maybe I will do so.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I am still hoping Dream Machine will happen some day. Kon died believing it would happen
Amagi
@SuperMario: Have you tried the other Kon movies like Millennium Actress once? Thought they were really good and Hirasawa is responsible for the OST there too. Or Paranoia Agent which was (IMO) very good as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nttSKBJ38k (OP)
Niello
Eoghan: Enjoy... ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't read this, its very strange to see a manga about full anthro animal characters: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Beastars
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: So based on that I will try devil lady. Thanks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: That'd be me who made that post. I thought dororon enma-kun was wonderfully ridiculous and Devilman gorishly entertaining, Shin Mazinger Z was probably some of the most fun I had with an anime, but violence jack took it way too far though so I guess I'm aquainted with nagai's work
Vonter
I don't remember who was looking for something noir in anime. I was looking among several series from Go Nagai. And watched some Devil Lady. I don't remember if noir is exclusively detective stories, but this anime, has those high contrast shadows, eerie music and is shot like some japanese horror movies I've seen. I don't know if it changes along the road but so far it's very suspenseful.
SuperMario
I only know him through his works in Berserk and Paprika but his music never fails to amaze me
Anonymous1626471
@Amagi: Ghost Bridge is my favourite. I just find it very calming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeh5aJsxlbw
Amagi
Susumu Hirasawa is one of my favorite musicians/composers. I don't even know what kind of subgenre this is. There aren't any other music groups I know who do similar stuff
Nielllo
@Mario, Already saw that video before.
SuperMario
Check this out... I don't even know what the freaking instrument he's playing, but it's spellbound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjalQjAomH0
Niello
Just when I thought Houseki no Kuni took the prize for best animation I was treated with Apocrypha. This week is amazing.
Niello
Big name animators all over. They really threw everything they've got here.
Niello
Woooooah! OMG Apocrypha ep 22 animation is sick! So that's why the animation in the first half of the show is so lackluster and basically just darn awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its not entirely odd to bring up Heydrich in relation to the occult either, apparently he was said to be part of some whackjob order.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, that girl from Dies irae, Anna Schwegln is aptly named, also shares her name with the last executed person for witchcraft, who was Bavarian German, which i'm told by an Austrian friend were particular right-est leaning politically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course unfortunately its often the opposite that happens, nothing is worse than an ending that ruins everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, how I love being surprised by something. That feeling where you''re watching something shakily held together, simply okay or good, then suddenly in the second half or last stretch your score of it goes massively up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can kind of understand the wanting to go home and watch something easy mentality instead of challenging but even though I'm guilty of escapism, I'm tired somewhat of "sillier" stuff, its often enjoyable but its get overly reptitive and I wish I could find more philosophical/political/imaginative things.
Amagi
Yeah the show is great because of its theme, the setting and chemistry girls have as well as their (lack of) knowledge about basic human things. Each episode thematizes this in a different way but there isn't much you can talk or say about it when you already explained the topic in detail.
SuperMario
On the other hand, I don't have much to talk about Girls' Last Tour this week. It's still good, but with this episode I feel that I'm running out of concrete thig to say about the show
SuperMario
Haha both Houseki and 3-gatsu have a good showing this week. I have a lot of things to talk about Houseki in particular
Amagi
This week's Houseki is jurassic park
Amagi
*-ati - I think Netflix and so are at least giving a few new impulses which isn't too bad. I don't think the typical anime series will disappear because of that.
Amagi
At least in comparisation
Amagi
I think it's just sad how often I see wonderful series selling 500 BD/DVD or maybe even less. Most series don't sell more than 1500 or so and the rest is usually at ~3000-5000 which is still pretty low.
Amagi
Yeah, it's one of my pro-Netflix arguments as well. Another problem is that anime (not counting manga) only make money through dvd/bd sales since they air at night, whereas Netflix or daytime tv series don't depend on the latter so much and since anime BDs are so expensive the only ones who buy them are the more extreme fans.
AidanAK47
Might be in part due to the workaholic nature of their society that makes escapist fantasy and empty entertainment more appealing than usual. Ultimately these are the people anime is made for so opening up the markets gives more deserving shows a fighting chance.
Though that isn't to say that western taste is perfect either.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, That's part of the reason I think some westernation might be a good thing as from what I seen the Japanese have truly terrible taste in anime. Sales charts from Japan just make me shake my head.
Amagi
God, the preorder anime lists are atricious. The only one that seems to sell acceptable (around 6k) is Mahoyome. Series like Inuyashiki have 80 pre-orders so far, Shuumatsu Shoujo 977. Idol shows sell good of course, including that male/bishounen Idolmaster
AidanAK47
@Anon, I read it but kinda fell out due to it's releases being slow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Actually if you check the manga recommendations section, you'll see there is a post about it here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yes, it was interesting to follow a story that dealt with a characters homosexuallity that was outside of the yaoi/yuri mould.
Anonymous1620968
Out of curiosity, has anyone on here read Shimanami Tasogare?
Niello
Where are we up to with Inuyashiki?
Lenlo
Well alright then. Episode 9 out of 11 and that happens. Was not expecting that
Lenlo
Ooo something happen this week? Im about to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
It feels just as rushed and awkward in the manga.
Amagi
I noticed this too
AidanAK47
Inuyashiki has balls of steel to pull that in this particular episode number.
Nielllo
Finally got around to reading Helck, and it looks like it's going to go into that pile of good-shounen-that-won't-ever-get-animated right alongside Psyren.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Imagine trying to buy the dvds of the show in public.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Gentle remind that the prism ilya movie is out and subbed.
AidanAK47
Still surprised the second and third seasons got dubbed.
AidanAK47
@Angel, I replied to one of your comments before but the rundown is no official word yet but maybe next year.
Angel
Or no? Someone please tell me!!
Angel
Going to happen?
Angel
Is fate/kaleid liner prisma☆illya 3rei dub
Amagi
I dislike it when manga bait me into reading due to the first chapter and end up being some very generic stuff afterwards. Nobody stays for B if he started something for A, authours should expect that.
Lenlo
Really, Juuni should stick with the 3D. That fight in ep 9 looked pretty good. 3D is clearly what they are good at
AidanAK47
@Niello, It's not Chatango. It's a plugin for wordpress called Wisechat.
SuperMario
@Niello: yeah, Juuni caught me off guard this week. The production of Juuni is unfortunately shaky, but well, strong writing can save the day
Niello
Btw is this chat still Chatango?
Niello
This week episode of Juini is surprisingly good compared to how the show usually is with its backstory. Although the part where Ox tries to explain to Tiger could definitely use some visual buff.
SuperWooper
in the future*
SuperWooper
Pretty cool that Juuni Taisen had that kind of emotional heft this week, though. Might be one of the 2017 shows I sample the in the future.
SuperWooper
I think the occasional comments with an episode title and nothing more come from people who mistake the shoutbox for a search bar.
SuperMario
@Anon1614688: juuni taisen... made me tearing up this week. Honestly didn't expect that. Damn you, Tiger
Anonymous1614688
juuni taisen
Amagi
Had some complaints regarding Children of Whales but the latest two episodes were pretty good.
Amagi
@Anon: You explained it better than me.
Anonymous1614307
Kaiser: I actually have the exact same opinion of Natsume and Mushishi. Both are excellent, but Natsume just does a great job with a small core cast and a very simple premise
Anonymous1614456
who likes naruto
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mushishi does have good stories, but it was always a manga I'd dip in and out of, on and off for years, never marathoning it, wheras Natsume was easier to read several chapters of in one go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its because Natsume has more pathos.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*more than
Natsume weirdly ended up becoming this comfort manga for me with a higher consistency rate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will state that I hold the terrible opinion that I like Natsume Yujinchou than Mushishi but at the same time completely recognize that Mushishi is probably the more ambitious, better show.
Niello
So it becomes a cycle of "this is an interesting set up" (except that the new Kino isn't even good at that) and then they fucked up or Kino/Shizu fucked them up even more, then move on. Without the emphasis on philosophical nature of the set up they present like in the original Kino, there really isn't that much point to it.
Niello
With the new Kino it's more about messing people up, occassionally observing and hardly ever improving. The anwsers or solutions to the problem they present is never really talked about in a rational way.
SuperMario
@Anon1614318: maybe you should give the old Kino a try. What I don't like most about the new version of Kino is that both Kino and the new guy are sketched as hero. The old Kino manages the tone right as well. There were some really dark tales and most of them thought-provoking. Can't say the same for say...Country of Cooking
Anonymous1614318
I don't know, it might be interesting to actually dig deep into the differences between episodic series with this kind of style to see what works and what doesn't.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's a matter of the chapter they chose to adapt were not really the better ones but the ones where the protagonist is more of an active role. Not totally against that, but it feels like the protagonist is just OP all the time. At least with Mushishi Ginko isn't able to save everyone all the time.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's supposed to be more allegorical, but most of the time the allegory is not really meaningful enough. I thought it would be more along the lines of Mushishi, which is kind of similar in setup, but better in most other ways.
Anonymous1614318
What keeps me sticking around are some of the nice background arts and generally pleasant use of color, but admittedly most of the episodes aren't really engaging in a meaningful way. Most of the time its just Kino/Shizu show up, find out town's gimmick, then save the day. I prefer the episodes where the townspeople are more than just flat background characters.
Anonymous1614318
It's interesting to see how this new Kino season is being received from folks who've already watched the original. This is my first real exposure to Kino, and I kind of like it, but even without watching the original, I share many of the same complaints Aidan and most of the others have.
Amagi
I am also kinda sad he's just some 2* servant in fgo, but his power is special and he's physically weak, so it's understandable.
Amagi
And again, Shakespeare is just great but the character is, sadly, kinda wasted here considering how much screentime he has.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes. Plus, maybe more characterization or background for some servants. The anime would have that time without Sieg and his romance sub plot.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Those being remove Sieg and more Shakespeare?
Amagi
And man Apocrypha is pretty good but it would be twice as good if it had those two changes Aidan always mentions in the reviews..
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think the male in Kino was a mistake. Having two PoV sounds good, but he's basically just a male Kino, he even looks like her. Someone vastly different would have been way more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd guarantee that sangatsu no lion would be high up, but FINALLY this weekend I'll be catching up.
Niello
@Kaiser, Ugh my phone gitched. What I meant to say was that background was unexpected. Now I see why you're enjoying CotW though.
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Featured Posts

Juuni Taisen – 11 [To Treat a Man to Beef From His Own Cow]

To the surprise of no one, Rat wins the race by breaking in the right place at the right time with the right weapon. This is by no mean a coincidence, because later on we learn about Rat’s real power: “Hundred Paths of Nezumi-chan”, in which he can see 100 various outcomes and thus picking […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 10 [We Live and Learn]

Welcome to week 10 of Mahoutsukai! Finally, oh so finally, we have are given some backstory on Elias! Our mysterious male(?) lead gets some explanation. We also get the start of a Chise only arc and finally some more information on Lindel. Lets jump in! As the main focus of this weeks episode, naturally I […]

Dies Irae – 09[A Mother’s Sins]

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Girls’ Last Tour – 10 [Train – Wavelength – Capture]

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Another remake of a story from the old series and while this one is adapted quite well, maybe even arguably better than the old version, it unfortunately lacks the same impact. The main problem comes back to the thing which ultimately holds back this season as a whole, story choice. For you see in the […]

Houseki no Kuni – 10 [Shiro]

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 22[Reunion and Farewell]

Breaking my usual routine today just to give an opinion on this episode but this episode made me feel compelled to get out my opinion. We have another action packed episode with three contestants out of the war and boy did they go out with a bang. Many will notice that the animation for this […]

Inuyashiki – 9 [Shihjuku People]

Welcome to another week of Inuyashiki! This week we have incredible sequences of terror, fearless Directors and death flags! Lets jump in. Obviously, the first thing we need to talk about this week is Hiro. A lot has happened in the few hours since Hiro attacked the Station. Interestingly, yet weirdly, Hiro has garnered a […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 21[Antares Snipe]

When Apocrypha slows down, it’s story shows it’s cracks. But when it’s an action showcase it actually becomes quite entertaining. The characters don’t have the time to be developed but they shine in combat when they clash, sometimes showing parts of themselves the series otherwise doesn’t allow for. Astolfo for one was actually useful for […]

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The Reflection Review – 45/100

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Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

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